The auto market, according to some, is struggling. Forbes reported that new vehicle sales took a dip in May 2018. There’s something else going on though that conflicts with these reports: auto factory plants are sprouting up all over. Contrary to sales numbers, automakers are preparing for a new wave in the auto industry with bright new buildings and state of the art plants.
If there’s an industry that goes through highs and lows, it’s the automotive sector. Yet despite all the challenges, regulations and technological advancements, most automakers find a way to remain in the mix. If anything, it pushes them to work harder, faster and smarter in crafting vehicles.
Not all automakers manage to survive though. Even great ones have fallen. When an automaker isn’t able to finish the race, things get ugly. The factories close down, assembly lines come to a screeching halt and people lose their jobs. Many of these plants take one of two paths: they become dingy and inhospitable, or else they’re torn down.
This list examines two different types of factories: ones that automakers broke ground on that are going up and set to open for business soon. The other half of the list looks at factory plants that are either on their way out or already shut down, that deserve demolishment. While we lament the loss of jobs that occurred as a result of these factories closing for good, the land these plants occupy deserve another chance; it seems like bulldozing the cold and vacant buildings is the only way to go.
20 Tear Down: Fisher Body Plant 21 in Michigan
We’ve shown photos of the Fisher Body Body Plant 21 back in its heyday versus the state that it’s in today. It’s not a pretty sight nowadays. What’s astounding is that the building is still standing, despite it serving little purpose. Not only has it been long vacated, but the site Abandoned Spaces reports that much of its valuable materials are gone.
The outside looks bad enough with graffiti and discolored walls, but the inside is where things look even worse. Unless someone revives the area, which is looking less likely as the days go by, it’s probably best if they demolish what's left of it.
19 In Progress: Tesla Gigafactory 3 in China
One of the most anticipated factories on the list has to be Tesla’s new Gigafactory 3 site in Shanghai. They already broke ground in January 2019 and are aiming to have parts up and running by the end of the year, as per Electrek.
Photos of the 210-acres are stunning and it has the potential to be one of the most incredible factory plants in the world. Without a doubt, it’s going to be a state of the art facility. They had originally planned on taking a couple of years to build it but recently changed course to get the site built much sooner.
18 Tear Down: Fordlândia in Brazil
Not so much a factory, as it was an enormous plantation that served to benefit vehicles, Fordlândia was Henry Ford's vision. He decided to take over this section of land, according to 99% Invisible, back in the 1920s. The rubber that they’d harvest would go onto his cars’ tires. Ford’s plan didn’t plan out the way he wanted it to, but today, many of the structures that had served the business still stand.
The same source notes that people live there today. It’s only appropriate that the abandoned buildings get a makeover or become bulldozed and replaced with someone new that can serve the community.
17 In Progress: Dyson Electric Car Factory in Singapore
Who says vacuum makers can’t break into the auto business? Dyson may be best known for their vacuum cleaners, but they might be more synonymous with automobiles if their new venture is a hit. Taking a cue from the idea, “Go big or go home,” Dyson is hitting the ground running with an electric car factory.
According to CleanTechnica, it’s going to be a two-story plant in Singapore that’s going to begin production in 2020. They hope to begin releasing vehicles out of this factory as soon as 2021. We’re excited to see this factory go up and what kind of cars Dyson ends up producing.
16 Tear Down: Bugatti Automobili in Italy
Bugatti is one of the most beloved brands today among car enthusiasts. They even find new ways to surprise us, like with their recent one-off longtail Chiron model. However, it hasn’t always been as, what Freddie Mercury sang, “No bed of roses, no pleasure cruise” for the legendary automaker.
For proof, look no further than the abandoned Bugatti factory in Campogalliano, Italy. As GT Spirit reports, the factory has been empty for over 20 years. Although Bugatti cars were once assembled here, they moved to France long ago. Most of the plant remains untouched. Unless Bugatti has any plans of moving back, this plant should get the axe.
15 In Progress: Faraday Future in Nevada
We’ve reported before on Faraday Future emerging as a potential competitor to Tesla. Now, it looks as if they’re moving into one of Tesla’s backyards. They broke ground in Las Vegas back in April 2016, as per The Verge, on a plant that’s reported to cost $1 billion.
Part of the appeal for Faraday, and other companies like Tesla, building in Nevada are reaping all the tax incentives there. It’s expected to span a massive 900 acres. It’ll bring a lot of jobs and hopefully incredible cars that the public will be the lucky recipients of, so we’re excited, to say the least.
14 Tear Down: Longbridge Plant in England
When the Longbridge closed, photos came out of cars still left on the assembly line midway completed. It’s hard to imagine a factory calling it quits in the middle of production, but that’s exactly what happened. It was all a result of MG Rover going under back in 2005. In 2016, as per Mirror, a photographer wandered the premises and snapped photos of the plant.
Most of the interior remained intact despite it being vacant for 11 years. All the pieces are there for an automaker to buy the plant and use it to their purposes. If that doesn’t happen though, they should tear it down and set up something new over the site.
13 In Progress: Volkswagen Group in China
With rumors swirling that Ford and Volkswagen could partner up, excitement for the German automaker is at an all-time high. What isn’t a part of the rumor mill though is the reality of a new plant in China. Volkswagen has already started working on a new EV factory in Shanghai reports Construction Global, which is their first on such a big scale.
EVs are the future and what better automaker is there to be behind the revolution? What makes us so excited is the fact they’re firmly planting their flag into China’s auto market. The same source notes that it’s expected to finish in 2020.
12 Tear Down: Ford Plant in Mexico
This is an eerie and strange sight to behold. What little remains of the Ford Factory—or what’s really the start of it—looks like the remains of a skeleton on the desert horizon.
According to the BBC, this was Ford’s initial set up for what would be a Ford plant there. It would have brought a lot of jobs and helped the country. It seems they got cold feet though and decided not to go through with the plant, even though they started construction on it. Now it’s just a reminder to the community and ought to be demolished by Ford, unless the company changes its mind, again.
11 In Progress: Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen in Alabama
Mercedes is putting a lot of money and stock in their factory that’s under construction in Alabama. According to Motor1, they got started on the site back in February 2018. They’re also planning on implementing new procedures and technology to help with making their vehicles. One feature includes a digital tracking process they want to employ for every car that goes through the process.
There’s also going to be a photovoltaic roof that’s going to cut down on the amount of energy the plant uses. The factory supposedly cost $1 billion and we couldn’t be more excited to see what Mercedes does with it when it’s finished.
10 Tear Down: Aerocar/Hudson Plant in Michigan
The Aerocar/Hudson Plant in Michigan is one example of a plant still standing today, even though there hasn't been activity there for years. Once a bustling auto factory, its outside walls look tagged and have become whitewashed. According to the blog Motor City Garage, the building is over 100 years old.
Here, they worked on the Aerocar, a 24 hp air-cooled engine vehicle that came out in the early 1900s. The company went under as a result, which may have been due to the car’s $2,800 price tag. Even though it’s a historic property, it should become something new that the public can benefit from.
9 In Progress: Mazda Toyota Manufacturing in Alabama
This next factory will see the joining together of two major automakers: Mazda and Toyota. They have plans to construct a plant in Huntsville, Alabama, according to IndustryWeek, with work beginning as soon as 2019. Here, Mazda hopes to make a new crossover model while Toyota will produce Corollas.
Not only are two different automakers and workers on both sides coming together, but they're planning on forging a new philosophy everyone call follow. We’re excited these two companies are working together and will be tuning in to see how it all pans out. They can’t get rolling on this factory any sooner.
8 Tear Down: Ford Highland Park Plant in Michigan
How far Detroit has fallen since its glory days. The Ford Highland Park plant is an eyesore from the street that runs by it in Detroit. The windows look broken, the paint has taken on a strange look and it’s taking up lots of space that could be better used for something else. It’s also a historic location.
Jalopnik reports that the first moving assembly line happened here within the context of the automotive industry. It hasn’t made a car or produced anything of substance since the ‘70s. That’s a long time to be empty, thus signaling a need to tear these buildings down.
7 In Progress: Lear Corporation in Michigan
There’s hope yet for Michigan to turn things around and become a major hub for the automobile industry. That is if Lear Corporation’s move in Flint finds success. Back in October 2017, according to Michigan Radio, they broke ground on a site there that’s going to build seats for GM trucks. The plant supposedly cost about $30 million to make.
The most exciting thing about this plant is that new buildings are going up in the state that formerly changed the auto industry. We love a good comeback story, and if this is the start of a new chapter for Michigan, count us in.
6 Tear Down: General Motors Boxwood Road in Delaware
When GM plants close down, they don’t always get demolished. According to Metro Detroit, from 1980 to 2010, 128 plants have closed under the “Big Three.” It would seem that the Boxwood Road plant in Delaware though won’t be among that group. They announced that it would close up in 1992.
Sadly, many people lost their jobs as a result. It probably should have come down sooner, but there’s word that demolition has recently begun. According to WDEL 101.7 FM, bulldozers came in and started working in late November 2018. There’re plans for something new to go in its place.
5 In Progress: Honda Expansion in Ohio
With Honda closing a plant in Great Britain, they have their eyes aimed stateside. According to Automotive News, they completed an expansion in Ohio where the company is investing a lot. The plant has been in Marysville, Ohio, for some time, but it got a huge makeover. In all, Honda spent about $267 million on the update, according to the same source.
We’re excited to see what effect this new expansion could have for Honda, which is set to make more Accords. The only puzzling thing is that they’re continuing to churn out sedans when those sales have had to compete with a growing SUV market.
4 Tear Down: Packard Plant in Michigan
Many will scoff at the Packard Plant finding a spot on this list. It’s such a legendary factory in Detroit’s automotive history that it seems sacrilegious to tear it down. Without much activity happening there over the years though, it seems like the appropriate course. The only thing that should stave off plans to demolish it would be an alternative vision for the property.
According to Detroit News, there’s a $300 million renovation plan in place. If that can breathe new life into the famous plant, then that would certainly change our minds about wanting to get rid of it.
3 In Progress: Volvo Cars in South Carolina
There are a few major plants going up in the U.S. over the next few years. One of them includes Volvo Cars USA’s upcoming factory. According to their official site, they technically broke ground in 2016 and set up machinery inside the factory back in 2017.
Production only just started on the S60, so the factory is still fresh. It’s likely they’ll continue to make improvements and expand on the site in the years to come since the factory is new. Once the factory is 100% up and running, we’re excited to see what sort of vehicles come out of here.
2 Tear Down: GM Lordstown Plant in Ohio
Just recently we reported on the last Cruze to go through GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio. It’s certainly a tough time for those working there, along with the company as a whole. Our wish would be for the plant to continue producing cars. Right now though, according to CNN, the Ohio plant is ending production in March 2019. If that ends up being the case, our second wish is that those employees can easily transition into new jobs.
If the plant does close for good, then demolishing it may be the only option left if it means building something new that can bring prosperity to the community.
1 In Progress: UGN Inc. in Ohio and Mexico
UGN may not be a household name on the same level as the "Big Three" automobile manufacturers, but it managed to raise not one—but two new plants in recent years. They're an automotive supplier, for one thing. It can take a new plant a few years to get up and running though, so we’ll include their two newest sites on the list.
According to IndustryWeek, it opened one in Monroe, Ohio, back in 2015, and built an even newer plant in Mexico. From products that range from carpet to headliner to mudguards, we’re excited to see what these two new UGN factories manage to do in years to come.
Sources: Forbes, CleanTechnica, Volvo Cars, IndustryWeek, UGN, Construction Global, Automotive News, Electrek, Motor1 & The Verge